Sunday, 21 October 2018

Protestors Shut Down Tim Omotoso’s Church

The church, led by the pastor accused of rape and sexual trafficking, has been operating as a church illegally.

Angry protestors met outside the Port Elizabeth Jesus Dominion International church on Saturday. The churches are led by televangelist and pastor Tim Omotoso who currently stands accused of crimes including rape and trafficking.

While there was a large crowd of protestors at the church, and while some news publications have reported that the service went ahead, before being shut down, ANC Youth Leagues’s Luyolo Nqakula, as part of a civil society group in Nelson Mandela Bay, says the police had shut down the church prior to the service today.

“We tried to engage the leadership of the church, they responded arrogantly and told us that they will not shut it down,” he said.

Then, a series of questions sent to the Metro Police and SAPS regarding inspections and zoning, health and safety issues around the church led to the discovery that the building has no certificate to operate and is not zoned to be used as a church.
Protestors Shut Down Tim Omotoso’s Church
According Nqakula, police then shut down the church at 4 in the morning, ensuring that no Sunday service would take place.

It was reported on Friday that the civil society group calling itself Nelson Mandela Bay Citizens Unity, which Nqakula is a member of, held a briefing announcing the planned shutdown of the church.

The church, which has branches across South Africa, is currently still up and running in several locations despite the current trial against its leader, who stands accused of 63 main charges and 34 alternative counts which include human trafficking, rape, sexual assault, racketeering, and conspiracy in aiding another person to commit sexual assault.

The civil society group includes members of ANC Youth League (ANCYL), ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), and Economic Freedom Fighters as well as representatives of unions the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) and the South African Students’ Congress (SASCO).
According to a statement issued by the group informing media of the press briefing, the group is “disgruntled” due to the alleged actions of Omotoso and are demanding that the church be shut down.

The group will be protesting outside the Port Elizabeth branch of the church, demanding for its closure, but ANCYL’s Luyolo Nqakula says the group is issuing a “nationwide clarion call” in the hope that other branches across South Africa will also be protested on Sunday.

“This thing is but a manifestation of how sick our society is and how sick some churches are,” Nqakula says.

He says the problem does not just affect Christianity but all religions and forms of spirituality.

The civil society group, says Nqakula, would like to “end the taboo around young women speaking out”.

The scourge of women being targeted by religious and spiritual leaders must be “confronted with ruthlessness and anger” and perpetrators must be “surgically removed” from society, Nqakula added.

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